Partial Collapse at Mississippi Industrial College

Catherine Hall, Mississippi Industrial College (photo by joseph a)

Catherine Hall, Mississippi Industrial College (March 2008 photo by joseph a)

Although I haven’t seen anything online about it yet, I’ve heard from a reliable source that Catherine Hall (1906) at Mississippi Industrial College in Holly Springs suffered a partial collapse during a bad storm last week. Those of you who have been to Holly Springs have undoubtedly passed the MIC campus, on the left across from Rust College–one of the most architecturally significant African American college campuses in the state, abandoned since the early 1980s, but still glorious in its decrepitude. The campus was on the Mississippi Heritage Trust’s 10 Most Endangered List in 2001, and at that time, they had this to say:

Founded in 1905 on the outskirts of Holly Springs, the Mississippi Industrial College trained young African-Americans for seventy-seven years under the sponsorship of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. Bishop Elias Cottrell established the school “for the literary and industrial training of the Negro youth, to train young men and women in Christian ideals, to furnish a practical education, and to make of them better citizens.” Between 1906 and 1982, when the college closed, the school expanded from its two original buildings – Catherine Hall (1906) and Hammond Hall (1906) — to include ten structures, including dormitories, classroom buildings, teachers’ houses, and a gymnasium. Today, four historic buildings, listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Mississippi Industrial College Historic District, stand unused and deteriorating on the west side of Highway 78, across from Rust College. Some stabilization work on the campus also threatens the buildings’ architectural integrity.

Rust College recently acquired the campus and there was some hope that they would find stimulus money or other grants to stablize and restore these buildings to use for their own campus. Right now, I don’t know the extent of the collapse–whether it’s something that can be stabilized or if its no longer salvageable. I’ll keep you updated on this story as more information becomes available.

Categories: African American History, Cool Old Places, Demolition/Abandonment, Historic Preservation, Holly Springs, National Register, Renovation Projects, Universities/Colleges

12 replies

  1. Any news about this? Looks like a remarkable building. I know how you feel about adaptive reuse in certain cases, but this looks as though a small hotel could be built within this shell. IS there much left of the interior?


  2. I’ve never actually been in the building–access has been difficult for years, mostly because of the owners. It’s now owned by Rust College, and I was briefly excited that they might move to at least stabilize the buildings. I haven’t heard anything more since the collapse except that Rust wants to tear this building down.

    I think there’s probably more interior left in this building than in the Carnegie auditorium, which I think has had some major structural deterioration inside.


  3. I just visited these magnificent buildings on Sunday, Feb. 6th. I was shocked to see the sad state that they are in. What a shame to let this part of history just fall to the ground. There should be some funds somewhere to help repair and restore these wonderful piece of history.


  4. I agree, it’s such a shame, and so short-sighted. What a treasure the whole campus could have been/could be if there were a vision and a will to do it. If you took any pictures and are willing to share, I’d love to post them here. It will be a while before I get back up that far north and I’d like to give an update to this post.


  5. I have admired these buildings since moving to Mississippi. I finally made a stop one day on my way back from Memphis and took some pictures.


  6. The current status of the historic buildings on the Mississippi Industrial College campus continue to be perilous in regards to stimulus and private funds for renovation. Over the last 18 months, since acquiring the property, requests for support have been denied at the state preservation level as well as the federal level. The College is continuing its quest for funds through the Department of Interior and the State’s Congressional delegation. Catherine Hall and Washington Hall are both collapsing. Catherine, according to our architects, is beyond saving with Washington close to the same point. Carnegie Auditorium has suffered great damage since the school closed in 1982. Hammond Hall was renovated by the church after the school closed. This facility was used by the City of Holly Springs Police Department until the first of the year. Currently it is closed.


  7. Thank you for this update on the condition of this important and historic campus, Mr. Beckley. I’m really surprised to hear your request for funds was denied at both the state and the federal levels. I assume you are referring to MDAH’s Community Heritage Preservation Grant of last fall and the stimulus funds for HBCUs? Did you get any feedback about why those were denied? Have you made any progress with the Congressional delegation?

    My understanding is that MDAH does have Mississippi Landmark fund, that while small can be used to stabilize Mississippi Landmark structures, of which I believe the campus is included. Have you discussed the possibility of obtaining funds from this source? Presumably you have an engineer’s report on the buildings that are still able to be saved so that you have some solid numbers on how much it would cost to do some basic stabilization.


  8. I pass there every day. I’m sorry to say that several of the buildings look to have significant damage, the roof has collapsed on one and one is just a shell. There were some offices in one for a little while but it’s gone now. These looked like they used to be beautiful buildings.


  9. its a real shame that my family didnt keep upwith thestate of these buildings thats all i have to say


  10. it has now been demolished sad to say



  1. Update on Mississippi Industrial College (it’s not good) | Preservation in Mississippi
  2. And then there were four . . . « Preservation in Mississippi

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